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Nikon D300 versus Nikon D5300

The Nikon D300 and the Nikon D5300 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and October 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D300 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the D5300 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D300 vs Nikon D5300

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D300 and the Nikon D5300 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D300 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Nikon D300 vs Nikon D5300
Compare D300 versus D5300 top
Compare D300 and D5300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5300 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Nikon D300. Moreover, the D5300 is substantially lighter (48 percent) than the D300. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D300 is splash and dust resistant, while the D5300 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D300 gets 1000 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the D5300 can take 600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D300» 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i
Nikon D5300« 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Nikon D5200« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749- i
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D5300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 56 percent) than the D300, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D300 vs Nikon D5300

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D5300 is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D300 and Nikon D5300 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D5300 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the D300. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.53μm for the D300). However, it should be noted that the D5300 is much more recent (by 6 years and 1 month) than the D300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D5300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

D300 versus D5300 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D5300 offers substantially better image quality than the D300 (overall score 16 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D300» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967
Nikon D5300« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Nikon D5200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D5300 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D300 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5300 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D300 vs Nikon D5300

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D300 and the D5300 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D300 and Nikon D5300 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D300»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D5300«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D5200« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n

Both the D300 and the D5300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D300 was replaced by the Nikon D300S, while the D5300 was followed by the Nikon D5500.

Review summary: Nikon D300 vs Nikon D5300

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D300 and the Nikon D5300? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D300:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1000 versus 600) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).


Advantages of the Nikon D5300:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More compact: Is smaller (125x98mm vs 147x114mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 445g or 48 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (56 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D300 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5300 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

D300 07:14 D5300

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the D300 and the D5300 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D300»HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i
Nikon D5300«HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Nikon D5200« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749- i
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i
Nikon D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i
Nikon D2X« »-HiRec-rev- Sep 2004 4,999- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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